back to article An easier way to Flutter? Custom functions improve visual code builder but devs may still be frustrated

FlutterFlow, a third-party visual application builder for the Flutter framework, now has custom functions for the addition of Dart code, but developers may still find it too limiting. Low-code visual application builders do not come much easier than FlutterFlow, a browser-based environment for creating mobile applications with …

  1. Warm Braw

    It is easy to pick holes in the platform

    $30 per month for the additional ability to download code and APKs; and $70 per month to add custom APIs, GitHub integration, which updates a repository when code is modified, iOS deployment, and management of Firebase content.

    It would be churlish to pick holes given that it already seems to have shot itself in the foot.

    Apps are extremely expensive to build, the median cost is I believe $100,000.

    If that were true (and "I believe" seems to be doing a lot of work in that sentence), the proportion of the $100k that involves work that can be substituted by dragging and dropping some components in a browser-based IDE will be relatively small. I believe.

    1. Robert Grant

      Re: It is easy to pick holes in the platform

      the proportion of the $100k that involves work that can be substituted by dragging and dropping some components in a browser-based IDE will be relatively small

      I think you might be surprised. A lot of the value might come from Flutter itself, and not FlutterFlow, but $100k ~= £70k, so ~= £35k for Android and same for iOS. Doesn't exactly sound enormous given you need to test it etc.

    2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: median cost is I believe $100,000

      That might barely cover a single developer salaray for one year. Might. Depends where the developer is located, and their skill level, of course.

      Add in infrastructure costs, marketing costs and so on, and $100k for an app that does much beyond "hello world" seems entirely realistic.

  2. gedw99

    Uncanny valley problem

    I use flutter and have played with their tool and google appssheet.

    You definitely end up in a place where you get blocked eventually. It’s a great example of the 80/20 rule at the extend in that the first 80% of the functionality is done in 20% of the project time. But that last 20% of functionality is going to be a hell ride due to the Low Code environment getting in your way .

    Theee are many other teams working on this area using very different approaches that solve that low code / full file inility dilemma.

    Many are using wasm on the web, mobile and server.

    Also after using flutter for 2 years and thinking it was the best thing , I have moved on to using other platform architectures that are leaner that are based on wasm. Flutter is very very complex under the hood , and in fact t like most google code based definitely overly complex . A bit like Kubernetes in that way. Google tends to makes things more complex to everyone’s peril.

    The next thing in Low Code will be wasm and the ide and the compiler will itself run in the browser itself . Flutter can’t do that due to its heavily reliance on skia, harbuz and other libs they reused from chrome to make flutter work.

    1. rsl

      Re: Uncanny valley problem

      How is WASM compared to Flutter in the accessibility front (for screenreaders, etc), specially on native apps?

      Last time I evaluated it, Flutter was a little ahead.

      Also, I think one needs to implement all the glue code required for dealing with hardware/sensors in mobile, when using WASM. Flutter, on the other hand has better support and standards in this area.

  3. iced.lemonade

    programmatic approach

    as a primarily backend developer with occasional frontend jobs for years, what dart + flutter appeals to me is the ease of coding the ui / flow of the whole app without ever using GUI. personally i like programmatic approach to ui stuff - i hate the storyboard stuff on iOS development, for one - because of the flexibility and speed in implementing changes between iterations. if your company is large enough to employ dedicated teams for both ui/ux design and front-end developers that may be another story, but in that case you may not be using this lowcode flutter stuff at all because there are much better options out there.

    to sum it up, dart + flutter, in my opinion, is designed from the ground up for programmatic approach to ui development.

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